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Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Quilt Class: Pressing for Perfection

The way you press your seams can
make a big difference when it comes
to precision in your work.  I love
precision but I also want quilting to
be enjoyable so I have a few easy
pointers to help you be precise.

I know some quilters who press their
seams open ~ always.  I don't, I rarely
do and I'll show you the times I do.
I think pressing your seams to the
side is a great aid to precise quilting.
That is what we will look at today.

Quilting is all about bringing small
pieces of fabric together and that
means lots of seams!  I generally
press my seams to the dark fabric.
When we are then sewing 2 units
together I like to "lock" that seam
together as shown above.  You can
see the pressed seams are opposing
each other and when you bring those
units together to pin you can feel
them "lock" together.

As a result, the points on this
4-patch are perfect.

Let's say we want to make this
pinwheel block from Half Square
Triangles.  All the seams on these
HST's are pressed to the dark fabric.
We will lay them out in 2 rows
as shown.

Now we will sew the 2 rows together.
When we are pinning the seam we want
to make sure the seams "lock" together
where the points will be ~ this is very

After sewing the points are perfect.
Now we have to think about the next
seams, press the seam in row 1 to the
left and the seam in row 2 to the right.
"Lock" those opposing seams when pinning
and sew your seam taking care to maintain
a 1/4" seam.

Here is the block, a pinwheel
with very precise points.

Now is one of the times when
I press a seam open.  There are
so many pieces of fabric coming
together in the center of this block,
it is best to press the seam open
to reduce bulk.

Now let's work on this Flying
Geese unit that has some different
rules.  We will make it from 4
Half Square Triangles, lay them
out as shown but in this case the
seams of the 2 HST's on the left
have their seams pressed to the
dark fabric but the 2 HST's on the
right have their seams pressed to
the light fabric.

When we pin the units together
we will be able to "lock" these
seams together and achieve the
desired perfect points as shown above.
We could only make this happen by
planning our pressing method beforehand.
We needed to press some seams to the light
fabric to make this happen.
Once again, after sewing the rows together
we will press the seam in row 1 to the left
and the seam in row 2 to the right so we
can "lock" them together.

And there is our finished block.  Remember
to press your final seam open to reduce bulk.

Of course these methods take
practice as anything does, but the
more you do the better you will
become at achieving precision
in your quilting.

Good Luck!

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  1. Another perfect tutorial!! It's very interesting to read!!!

  2. Excellent information... thank you for sharing!